Serena, MKS stress requirements management

Serena Software and MKS are improving requirements management in their application life cycle wares, with Serena touting its Web interface and MKS emphasizing collaboration.

Available now, Serena RTM 5.5 (Requirements & Traceability Management) sports a redesigned Web interface intended to help users manage requirements across application development projects. The improved view enables users to more easily perform impact analysis on requirements changes, according to Serena.

With release 5.5, Serena is bringing functionality to the Web client that previously only was available in the Windows client, according to Jeff Evans, product marketing manager at Serena. "(Customers) want that Web client to be for all users," Evans said.

Web client users now can create and manage queries or any other information in the database, such as product requirements, Evans said. Also new in RTM 5.5 is a customizable home page, for viewing role-based requirements information. Linking of objects, such as test plans and design documents, is possible as well in the Web client.

Elsewhere in Version 5.5, SSL support is being added. "That means things are encrypted when they go back and forth" across the wire, Evans said. Additionally, RTM users can authenticate users through their listing in LDAP directories.

Version 5.5 features improved synchronization between requirements management and change management, providing more detailed information on changes and making it easier to understand the impacts of changes, Serena said.

RTM 5.5 is priced at US$2,000 per named user and US$6,000 per for an unlimited number of users, with a limitation of one user at a time. Prices are based on perpetual licensing for Version 5.5.

Serena in a release of RTM planned for the second quarter of 2005 will integrate the product with the company's TeamTrack product for enterprise process management and ChangeMan Dimensions for closed-loop change management. "Basically, what it means is you'll have traceability and visibility all the way from the requirements to the code," said Evans.

Serena acquired RTM from Integrated Chipware last year for roughly US$3 million. Release 5.5 is the first version of the product released under the Serena nameplate that offers feature improvements. RTM is part of the Serena Application Framework for Enterprises (SAFE) initiative.

MKS on Jan. 24 plans to release Integrity Suite 2005, for enterprise software change management. The key feature of the package is MKS Requirements 2005, for requirements management that enables software developers to more closely work with business analysts to trace requirements.

"With one integrated tool, you can trace the requirement right to the source code," said Michael Harris, COO at MKS.

The suite also features a single interface for multiple purposes, such as requirements and coding. Interfaces had been separate before.

Other components of the suite include Integrity Server, serving as a data repository; Integrity Manager 2005, for process and workflow management; and Source Integrity Enterprise 2005, for software configuration management. The suite is intended to reduce release times for software, cut costs, improve quality, and provide more management visibility, according to the company.

MKS touts its platform as a single, integrated system for managing the application development process. "Our enterprise solution is just built on one platform," not through linking acquired products, said David Martin, vice president of product management at MKS.

MKS' requirements management system is more basic than some rival tools, which actually can be a benefit, said Melinda Ballou, senior research analyst at Meta Group. The complexity of functionally rich offerings could be a barrier to adoption, she said.

Reporting and charting capabilities have been improved in the new version of the suite, Ballou said. MKS provides a midrange offering but the company does boast some enterprise-level deployments, according to Ballou.

"They're basically a good little company and I've been impressed with how well they've executed in the last year or so," said Ballou.

Serena's Evans lists Telelogic (Profile, Products, Articles) and Borland as its main competition, and not MKS. "We just haven't seen that product yet in a competitive situation," Evans said.

Pricing for a 10-user version of MKS Integrity Suite 2005 is $37,000.

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